TROY — Cloud technologies are making it easier for manufacturers to meet changing customer demands, according to the 2016 Plex State of Manufacturing Technology survey.
The annual survey of nearly 200 manufacturing organizations finds many manufacturers also using cloud technologies to drive product innovation and improve operational efficiency.
With the cloud, manufacturers connect the plant floor with top managers’ offices, providing everyone access to one version of real-time data. The survey found:
* 64 percent of respondents better managed fluctuating customer demands
* 55 percent achieved stronger management of their global supply chain
* 48 percent found introducing new products was easier for them to manage
* 98 percent noted that connectivity to systems, machines, suppliers and customers delivers value to their business today
Plant floor mobile technology has historically been limited to expensive, proprietary, ruggedized devices. But now, the survey found that affordable consumer mobile products, combined with cloud connectivity, make it easy for manufacturers to connect people and systems throughout the plant. As a result,
* 64 percent of respondents are using consumer tablets on the plant floor
* 10 percent have decreased the use of laptops
Respondents noted significant growth in their deployment of Apple iOS devices (up 9 percent year-over-year; 70 percent total) and Android devices (up 24 percent year-over-year; 56 percent total)